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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Two people may face up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a COVID-19 fraud scheme, according to U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
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Officials said 30-year-old Dylan Kinlock, from Florida, admitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a scheme to defraud the United States of COVID-related disaster loan proceeds.
His co-defendant, 36-year-old Felicia Garza, from Houston, also pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Kinlock and Garza admitted to coming up with a scheme to solicit others to fraudulently apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided.
The two reportedly used victims' personal information to create falsified documents and applied for a PPP loan on their behalf.
The fraud scheme resulted in at least 241 fraudulent PPP loans, which led to the distribution of more than $1 million.
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Kinlock was said to have received at least $709,665 in fee income from people he assisted in securing the fraudulent PPP Loans.
Many people in the Southern District of Texas who applied for PPP loans through Kinlock reported that he attached fake documents to their application without their knowledge and that the applications contained false statements about the number of employees their business had.
Kinlock asked each of his victims to execute a contract with him in which they agreed to share a portion of their PPP loans.
After Kinlock's clients received their PPP loan funds, he would direct the client to send him his fee through various means, including direct deposit into his bank account or electronic payment methods like Zelle, CashApp, or Venmo.
Kinlock's fee ranged from $3000 to $4,000 per loan or 20% of the amount his client received.
Authorities said Kinlock used the money to pay off his home in Florida. As part of his guilty plea, he has agreed to forfeit that home.
The duo will be sentenced on April 11. At the time, each of them faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Kinlock was allowed to remain on bond pending sentencing. Garza also remains on bond.
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